How India and China can create a multi-polar Asia

It is generally under-estimated how much India and China, as proximate neighbours, have had to do with each other in the course of history. The evidence of our interaction is there in front of our eyes, whether along the Silk Road or at Dunhuang, Luoyang or Datong. There are still older examples – be it in provinces like Sichuan, or indeed, later ones along the Fujian coastline. Yet, a narrative that we have always been distant from each other was successfully constructed by Western powers that had an interest in doing so. As Prof. PC Bagchi notes in his unique work on a thousand years of our cultural history, the accidents of the World War II reconnected two peoples who had almost forgotten their common past. Unfortunately, the border conflict and its political consequences interrupted this process. Although India was among the earliest Governments to establish ties and promote cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, the three lost decades compel us to still play catch up with relationships that came very much later.

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